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U.S. News & World Report reworks law school rankings, but Yale won’t return

U.S. News & World Report reworks law school rankings, but Yale won’t return

Higher Ed Dive

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
January 3, 2023
Dive Brief:
  • U.S. News & World Report said Monday it will rework how it determines its influential ranking of law schools after several institutions, including many top-placing ones, late last year stopped cooperating with the list.
  • The ratings will give more weight to schools whose graduates transition to an advanced degree program, or school-funded fellowships in which they may be working for low pay. This change responds to criticism that the law school rankings have punished institutions that promote public-service careers.
  • The publication’s methodology will also stop relying so heavily on a survey academics, lawyers and judges complete about their perceptions of law schools, which counted for 40% of schools’ scores for the 2023 rankings. It did not share its exact new formula.
Dive Insight:
U.S. News’ tweaks to its formula intend to stem the flow of law schools rejecting the rankings, which began with Yale and Harvard universities in November.
Since then, many other law schools — including most in the top 15 spots of U.S. News’ latest list — have said they would no longer send data for the rankings. Their reasons for revolting vary. But often, the schools say that rankings disadvantage those that want to lift students into public-interest jobs.
The magazine responded by saying it would still rank those law schools. Much of the information used to create the database is available through the American Bar Association.
In a new statement Monday, U.S. News officials said they’d met with more than 100 deans and law school representatives in recent weeks and landed on a new blueprint for the rankings. They reiterated they will still rank all law schools, but said they plan to publish deeper profiles for those that willingly provide their data.
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